For businesses keen to expand e-commerce reach, the initial impulse is often to look across the Channel and explore large countries like France and Germany. However, there is an exciting and growing e-commerce market much closer to home – and one that is already looking to UK businesses to supply everything, from bargains to luxury goods.
Ireland is an exciting prospect for companies in the UK, and an important one for a number of very good reasons.
The Irish e-commerce market
Ireland has a population of just over 4.5 million and the fourth-highest GDP per capita in the EU. It is a market with vast similarities to the UK, not just in terms of language spoken but also the way business is done and the expectations that customers have of the brands that they buy from. The sale of goods and services between the UK and Ireland is now worth around €1bn and the online market is taking an increasingly sizeable chunk. Internet penetration is good – according to the World Bank 77% of the population has internet access, and growing – and the use of mobile devices now outstrips desktops when it comes to purchases.
Why is Ireland an important e-commerce market?
- E-commerce in Ireland continues to grow. According to Visa’s Irish Consumer Spending Index, expenditure via e-commerce is growing by around 15% year on year.
- Irish consumers are looking to UK companies to take advantage of product breadth and better pricing. According to Visa, as a result of Brexit, Irish consumers are seeking to exploit the value on offer from UK e-commerce brands as a result of the sterling exchange rate
- Ireland is embracing every aspect of e-commerce. Unlike markets such as Germany that have been relatively slow to engage with mobile shopping, for example, Ireland is quick to get on board. Mobile devices now account for 56% of total internet traffic and 60% of mobile owners have carried out a transaction using their devices
- Ireland is an open-minded market. The Top 20 shopping websites popular in Ireland are not limited to local brands or domain names but include Boohoo.com, Amazon.co.uk and Asos.com.
- Logistics are easier to manage. From customs through to the cost of shipping and warehousing, the logistics for delivering to Irish consumers are much easier for UK e-commerce businesses to manage than other locations that are further afield. A wider range of delivery choices can be offered and more cost effective shipping used.
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